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Community Protests Proposed Wind Turbines in Shelburne Falls

SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WGGB)  — They’re the same length as a 747 jumbo jet, nearly 400 feet.  At least that’s the size of the four industrial wind turbines proposed for Mt. Massamet in Shelburne Falls.

Two groups are opposed to the wind turbines — one in Shelburne, the other in neighboring Buckland.

The groups are encouraging people to take steps to stop the project at the town meeting in Shelburne Tuesday night.  “If a project this big goes up on that mountain, it’s literally going to change the landscape of Shelburne Falls. Voters really have the right to change something like that” urged Buckland resident Lamia Holland.

This is developer Frederick Field’s second attempt to build turbines. He withdrew a plan for 8 turbines last year, after the town placed a yearlong moratorium on the project.

A petition to ban commercial wind, coal and nuclear-power development, will be voted on by town residents. “The community wants time to stop and think about it. There isn’t the chance for the community to have a moratorium” Barbara Parry of Shelburne Falls stressed.

Neighbors are very concerned about potential health effects.  Opponents contend the noise the turbines produces could cause sleep deprivation. “This kind of sleep disorganization it causes hypertension, cardiovascular problems, just this whole array of stress related health problems one would expect if you’re not sleeping for weeks” expressed Shelburne resident Raymond Hartman.

Still, conserving energy is the main concern. “Anyone on the grid using power needs to take a serious look at all alternative forms, and we need to use that” neighbor Ted Cahill advised.

All of the proposed wind bylaw changes will be voted on in back to back articles at the May 1 annual town meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls.

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